Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Ok, I might have recieved other gifts that have ranked right up there with it, but a weekend of camping with the family for Memorial Day is pretty darn high on the best ever list.

Silver Lake State Park and Campground is nestled into the small town of Barnard on Silver Lake. It is a small campground, with lots to do. There are horseshoe pits, volleyball, room to play kickball/softball, and of course swimming, boating, and fishing. It is my favorite place thus far to go camping.

There were 13 of us over 6 sites, with lots of visitors each day and night. Everybody took a meal, and there were some scrumptious ones to be had! I brought pizza, I was running way late coming back from the Cape, me run late, who knew ;-) There were bbq beef sandwiches, pasta salads, burgers and dogs, Dads' Famous Weber Roast Beef, french fries and blooming onions, and the final night was a killer wing off! The first of Silver Lake Annual Wing Off's to be had.

Jeremy and I borrowed a canoe from Mom and Lynda and went fishing twice, and let me tell you... I'M THE FISHING QUEEN!!! I caught more fish than anybody that weekend. The largest being an 8 inch bass. I can even bait my own hooks and take my own fish off the hook!

I can't wait to do more camping and fishing, and I especially cannot wait until next year to go camping Memorial Day weekend with family again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cape Cod

In for the long haul... This is going to be a long one, covering my week long vacation on the Cape!

Mary, Jeremy's cousin, and her husband Clint joined us for the week on the Cape. They had never been before, so it was great being able to experience so many of places and sites on the Cape that I love through new eyes.

When we arrived we were all pretty spent and after unloading the car and unpacking the perishables, a few minutes were spent checking out the new floors and the layout of the cottage and then it was off to bed!

Grocery shopping was our first item of business, and since we didn't to go shopping hungry, as everyone knows that will usually double if not triple the goods, breakfast was our priority.

When Mary asked us if we knew a good place for breakfast, Jeremy and I responded in unison! Grumpy's is the only place to get breakfast on Cape Cod in our opion. They always have some unusual choices along with the classics and we are never disappointed.

I love their homemade hash benedict, and get that almost exclusively. That and their french toast. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

The next few days were a whirwind of driving around and exploring the Cape and shopping. It was a great way to spend the rainy days we had. The majority of shopping was done at Cuffy's. We all got oodles of tshirts and sweatshirts. Jeremy even got a couple of pairs of pants.

Despite the drizzles, we explored The Stony Brook Grist Mill and Herring Run [picture], took a trip to Chatham, and went thrift shopping!

When we got sun back, we took full advantage of it and went walking the beach. All beaches have tides, but Cape Cod Bay has a tide that goes out about a mile! The flats, the areas of sand where the water used to be, are a great place to explore. The feeling of walking where in just 6 hours there will be enough water to cover your head is pretty excilerating.
While out on the flats, we waded into the water and toed for a few clams. We only found a few, and as the water was a bit chilly, we finally gave up and headed back to the beach. The clams would have been great for any number of recipes, but we ran out of time to cook them, and since they were still alive, back into the bay they went.

The next day we still had the same great weather, and headed off to Provincetown for a whale watch. The Dolphin Fleet has been offering outstanding whale watches for as long as I can remember, and is who I always choose. There were over a dozen whales, mamas and babies, and oh it was just wonderful. It is a breathtaking site to watch the whales eat, hang out, and play. Almost as exciting as watching the whales was watching Mary's expression when she saw them. Not as exciting was the girls standing behind us eiking and shrieking over and over and over!
Our second to last day was filled with beautiful weather as well, and we decided to go for a bike ride. We found the best location ever on the Cape for renting bikes. Orleans Cycle had the best rates, awesome service, and was perfectly located. I was very impressed and will do all bike business with them when I visit the Cape in the future. We had stopped the night before about an hour after close and they were still there and sold us the tubes we needed! How awesome is that?
Our bike ride was excellent, we biked from Orleans Cycle all the way to Eastham and took a little detour off of the Cape Cod Rail Trail onto the Nauset Bike Trail and down to Coast Guard Beach. It was a beautiful day and felt so good to bike along. We went just about 6 miles to the beach, and about a mile into the trip back, the crank screw on Jeremy's bike snapped! He was left walking his bike with Mary walking with him. Clint and I rode ahead back to the bike shop to buy a screw. When we got there, they gave us the screw that we needed and DIDN'T CHARGE us for it; even after I told them if wasn't their bike the part broke on. It really made me a loyal customer after all they did for us.
Clint and I started our bike ride back, and ran into Jeremy and Mary about 4 miles back from the bike shop. Jeremy got the bike fixed and we rode leisurely back to the shop. I was POOOPED but felt so good. I can't wait for the weather to clear up so I can get back to biking around home.
The last day was spenting cleaning and packing, and a final breakfast at Grumpies. Did I mention it is the best place to get breakfast on the Cape EVER???

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back from Vacation!

I am back from vacation, and taking the day to rest and get reacquainted with being home. Starting tomorrow, I am will be back to posting, and should have some stuff from vacation as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Water Consumption

Water is by far my beverage of choice. I like it flat or sparkling, room temp or cold, but find that I just don't drink as much as I should be. I have tried different water bottles to see if that helps me to drink more water, I have tried filling a jug and drinking off from it from the fridge, and I have tried filling small containers and drinking from them. Nothing seems to really help me keep track or get as much water as I need.
My favorite water bottle is a SIGG but isn't always the easiest to drink from, get water into (at least at work), and tends to warm up faster. However, I really like that it isnt going to leak anything into my water. Yet lately I have been using a water bottle, biking style, that I recieved from Noble Power because I can fill it quickly at work and its easy to drink from, but I don't know if it is BPA-free.
I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, but feel the best when I am able to drink about 100-110 ounces of water a day. Going with the 64 ounces a day is what is recommended, but I like drinking half of my body weight in ounces a day.
So far, one bottle worth, at least 2 to go! I really don't know how many ounces the NoblePower bottle is, but I figure its at least 20 ounces, and if I drink 3 of them at work, the water I drink at home will at least get me my 64.
On another note, my camera is fixed and I get it back tomorrow night! Once I get it back, I am going to work on a food journal. I want to know what I am eating, what doesn't work, and what I want to change. It will start on Friday if I have internet on the Cape. If I do not have internet on the Cape, I will not start keeping a food journal until I get on the 26th!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bike Ride

Jeremy and I are going to go visit my grandmother after work today. We are going to go via bike and this is our route!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

Today was a day full of celebrating Moms. Jeremy was up early to finish the Johnny Cash CD's for his mom. They came over for breakfast after they left church, and was thrilled to get the CD's. They were late following us to Rite Aid because they had a hard time picking out which CD to listen to She loved it!
Jeremy spent some time visiting with a few friends while I spent some time up at Mom's transplanting tomatoes.
There were A LOT of them! I can't wait until they start producing fruit :-)
I checked on the little chicken and (s)he isn't so little anymore. No longer covered in baby chick fuzz there are lots of new feathers coming out. Very cute!
I prepped veggies for roasted vegetables and minced garlic to saute with the green beans, and caramelized onions and peppers to mix into the meatloaf.
Mom and Lynda had been on the Cape this weekend, so I thought it would be nice to have a meal made for them when they got home. Mom did pick out the meal and it turned out to be the perfect meal for the chilly day we had!
I had made coffee for Lynda, and decaf ready for Mom. Not one to drink coffee in the afternoon, Mom felt like it was the perfect way to end the long drive home from the Cape.
Mom brought home some leftover juice she had made for the trip and it sure was TASTY! I could taste beets and carrots and apples, there was some cucumber and I am not entirely sure what else. Makes me wish I had a juicer at home, along with the money to buy produce to make the juice. Someday :-)
Mom also had some leftover kombucha from the weekend and it is so much better than anything store bought, and once you have your own culture, SOOOOO much cheaper.
It was a great day, the only thing that could have made it better was a bit warmer of a day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lasagna Stoup

Jeremy and I stopped up to Mom's for a little bit last night. Which was a great little visit, enjoying the view, discussing what I would make for dinner on Mothers Day when they got back from the Cape. I came up with some options, homemade potstickers with napa salad and sauteed green beans, meat or veggie lasagna, summer squash pasta, or meat loaf with roasted vegetables and green beans. Jeremy of course thought that I was talking about what to make for dinner that night, boy wasn't he disappointed when he realized I was talking about Sunday.
Mom decided on meatloaf with roasted vegetables and green beans. YUMMY!
Jeremy was so bummed that we weren't going to be eating any of the options for dinner that night that I decided to cave a little bit and make something close. A few weeks ago I made a batch of Lasagna Stoup from the Rachael Ray Magezine. The first time I made it I followed it to a T, minus the carrots (only because I realized I didn't have any at home and wasn't going to the store for just carrots). When I made it last night however, I changed things up a bit. It was even better!

Lasagna Stoup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground beef sirloin
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
One 28-ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes
1 pound lasagna noodles, broken into jagged pieces
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to pass around the table

1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the onion, carrots and garlic and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, the chicken broth and tomatoes; cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Serve the stoup in bowls and dollop with the ricotta. Pass the parmigiano-reggiano at the table.

My Changes!
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
Italian Seasoning
Dry Basil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken stock
3 14.5-ounce can Italian Style diced tomatoes (purree one can)
1 pound rigatoni
whole-milk ricotta to dollop on
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to pass around the table

Brown the beef, season with salt and pepper, italian seasoning, and dried basil, cook until browned. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Dump in the chicken broth and tomatoes; cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes.
Serve with ricotta and parm!

This is even better the next day when it has had a chance to sit and absorb juices and become almost a caserole!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fiddlehead Festival

Saturday was a great day spent with Mom. We went to the Fiddlehead Festival at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. It was the perfect start to the growing season!
When we got there, we spent a bit of time walking around checking out the tables and vendors set up, watch the tractors drive through on the tractorcade, and bought our lunch tickets. There were many different types of vendors from food vendors, Integrative Health, Woodsong Herbals, Habitat for Humanity, a local coalition working to get ride of the Wild Chervil naturally, and many others.
Mom decided to sit in on the gardening workshop, and while she said she didn't learn a whole lot new, she found a great tool! The CobraHead Short Handle Tool! We both have already tried it, and if you are going to only own one hand tool for gardening, this is the tool!
I sat in on the wild edibles workshop, and learned a few things. I already knew I loved fiddleheads, but that was the only wild edible that I had ever really had. The one time I had dandelion greens, they had been cultivated (strange I know). I was able to sample ramps, a sweet spicy young wild onion, which was incredibly TASTY! An onion, who knew ;-) Japenese knotweed, also known as red asparagas, was another tasty wild edible. I would have liked a bit more information on more edibles and where to find them and a little less of the politics of foraging/gathering.
Mom and I met up after our workshops and had a fantastic chili lunch with cornbread, salad and ice cream. Everything was made with local ingredients from the butter and cheese, to the vegetables and the meat, the butter for the ice cream!
It had been a bit dreary in the morning, but the afternoon brought wonderful sunshine. We spent the afternoon watching some sheep dogs work some sheep. Watching the men with their dogs was pretty incredible, especially getting to see the dogs at different levels of training. The amount of control a single dog has over a small group of sheep is pretty intense, and with just whistle guidance, they dogs can move the sheep anywhere!
All in all it was a great day and I can't wait until next year.